MR PUNCH - BILSTON, THE ROBIN 2 14/05/17
 

Here we go! Round 2. The return of Mr Punch to the UK.

At the end of last year a small crowd watched this group play at The Northcourt, Abingdon and we all agreed it was one of the best gigs we had ever seen. Now just seven months later, this small Italian band had come back to this little island of ours to play once more.

This next gig was going to be special, in fact twice. Firstly they were performing in front of fans who had travelled specifically to see them and secondly it was a chance for them to show something that wasn’t as fresh this time around. For anyone who had read my last review, they brought something new to the table, this time they had to beat that. Now, I was kind of disappointed that much of the set was the same as before, but I was curious to see if they could better the original performance in front of a bigger crowd in a larger venue. And so armed with a copy of the setlist, I positioned myself in front of the

stage. This allowed me to interact well with Alessandro, but also to laugh with Marcella while she continued to giggle. You can clearly tell these guys are having a fun time playing the music with a passion that you can't make up. Opening with the intro to Emerald Lies and into Script, just as the original Marillion had done during the Misplaced Childhood era. Im a big fan of their version of Punch and Judy, but theres something about Alessandro singing Cinderella Search that makes the hairs on my neck stand up. Again its back to the passion behind the music.

I mentioned disappointment in the setlist, because the band played side one of the Misplaced

Childhood album and having heard them play that previously I was really looking forward to side two. However, they promised that next time.

Sticking with the usual Marillion classics to close the set, the band played well rehearsed versions of Fugazi and Forgotten Sons. Does Alessandro ever remember to bring a lighter with him?

In this set there was no Grendel! Gutted. I had asked to hear Marcella play Steve Rothery’s end solo, having seen Stillmarillion’s Mark Mitchell play an outstanding version of it on this very stage just few months previously. In typical ‘Zaubermaus’ fashion, she smiled and promised ‘next time’. Instead they delivered Market Square Heroes, which they were unable to play before and then

finished with an unusual choice of White Russian, promising to return to these shores soon.If you have yet to see this band, find the time. If you are new to the music of Marillion pre-Hogarth, take some time to immerse yourself in the music of Mr Punch. If its live in the UK, make yourself known, I am probably not too far away.

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